Glutenin is involved in the gluten-driven mucosal T cell response

Eur J Immunol. 1999 Oct;29(10):3133-9. doi: 10.1002/(SICI)1521-4141(199910)29:10<3133::AID-IMMU3133>3.0.CO;2-G.


Gluten ingestion causes coeliac disease in susceptible individuals. Gluten is a heterogeneous mixture of glutenin and gliadin, the latter of which is considered responsible for disease induction. By combining high-performance liquid chromatography purification steps of gluten with a T cell bioassay and mass spectral analyses, we have identified a glutenin peptide (glt04 707-742) that activates T cells from the small intestine of a coeliac disease patient and results in the secretion of large amounts of IFN-gamma. The minimal T cell stimulatory core of the peptide (residues 724-734) is repetitively present in glutenin molecules. Moreover, it was observed that a large number of naturally occurring variants of this peptide are recognized by the T cells. These data suggest that the large heterogeneity of glutenin proteins dramatically increases the number of available T cell epitopes. Together, the results provide new insight into the nature of the gluten antigens that lead to coeliac disease and suggest that glutenin, next to gliadin-derived antigens, may be involved in the disease process.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Celiac Plexus / immunology
  • Clone Cells / immunology
  • Epitopes, T-Lymphocyte / analysis
  • Epitopes, T-Lymphocyte / immunology
  • Glutens / analogs & derivatives*
  • Glutens / chemistry
  • Glutens / genetics
  • Glutens / immunology
  • HLA-DQ Antigens / immunology
  • HLA-DQ beta-Chains
  • Humans
  • Immunity, Mucosal / immunology*
  • Intestine, Small / immunology
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Peptide Fragments
  • Peptide Mapping
  • T-Lymphocytes / immunology*
  • Triticum / immunology*


  • Epitopes, T-Lymphocyte
  • HLA-DQ Antigens
  • HLA-DQ beta-Chains
  • HLA-DQbeta antigen
  • Peptide Fragments
  • Glutens
  • glutenin